The Choice

by Carol Hess on September 12, 2012

As Josie walked from the jet way into the airport terminal, the first thing she heard was the blare of the loudspeakers.

“Shoulds, Supposed Tos, and Right Ways to the right.  Heart’s Desires, Soul Songs, and Your Ways to the left.  Make The Choice.”

What?

“Shoulds, Supposed Tos, and Right Ways to the right.  Heart’s Desires, Soul Songs, and Your Ways to the left.  Make The Choice.”

What choice?  What on earth were they talking about?

“C’mon, Lady, make The Choice.  What’s it gonna be?  Right or left?”

The uniformed clerk glared at her, his fingers drumming on the back of the clipboard he held.

“Well?  I haven’t got all day.  What’s The Choice going to be?”

Josie heard her fellow passengers behind her.

“What’s the hold up?”

“Some broad up there doesn’t know where she’s going.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Hey!  I’ve got to get to Cincinnati!”

“You up there!  Hurry up!  I’m about to miss my connection to Detroit.”

“What’s going on?”

“Some idiot can’t make The Choice.”

Josie stepped to the side, and the people behind her rushed by, shaking their heads and giving her dirty looks.  Almost all of them turned to the right.  They didn’t even hesitate.

“Shoulds, Supposed Tos, and Right Ways to the right.  Heart’s Desires, Soul Songs, and Your Ways to the left.  Make The Choice.”

“Well, Lady?  What’s it going to be? ”

“But I don’t understand.  What choice?  How can I make up my mind when I don’t understand the choice I’m making?”

“Another damned Undecided,” the clerk growled himself.  “All right, Little Miss Undecided.  See, that door there?  The one that says Make The Choice?  That’s where you’re going, and shut the damn door after you!”

As Josie walked toward the room, she heard the static from the walkie-talkie the clerk had just turned on.

“Joe, I’ve got another friggin’ Undecided.  Do you believe it?”

(Static.)

“Yeah, me neither.  Used to be you hardly ever saw ‘em.  Now they’re coming through here right, left, and center.”

(Static.)

“Right,” answered the clerk.  “Buzz The Voice and The Star Polisher.  Tell ‘em they’ve got company and to make it snappy.  I’ve gotta close down this gate and get to 15F.  The 5:15 from Tampa is due any minute.”

“What kind of airport is this?” Josie wondered.  “Who are The Voice and The Star Polisher?”

Then she squared her shoulders, turned the doorknob, and slowly opened the door to the Make The Choice room.  She peeked around the edge of the door.  No one was inside the room.  She stepped over the threshold and closed the door softly behind her.

Mind-numbing but pleasant enough elevator music was playing, and a television in the corner was flashing soundless images from one of Josie’s favorite reality shows, the volume turned down very low.  The sofa facing the tv reminded her of the one she had at home – one of those deep, soft ones in which you could curl up, if you didn’t have a family to run that is.

Just then a woman walked into the room through a door Josie hadn’t noticed before.  The sign on the door said “Your Way.”  Josie smiled to herself as she heard the strains of Frank Sinatra’s song I Did It May Way coming from the room the woman had just left.  She knew it was a hokey song, but she’d always liked it.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full. 

I traveled each and ev’ry highway. 

And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

Josie turned toward the woman dressed in a flowing, cornflower blue kaftan.  It was Josie’s favorite color and an outfit she would have loved to wear.  But only a tall woman could pull it off, and Josie was only 5’2” on her tiptoes.

The woman’s jewelry was bold – also something only a tall woman could get away with.  She wore big hoop earrings, multiple bangle bracelets, and a rather large silver chain with a clear quartz crystal that dangled between her generous breasts.  Her hair was a wild tangle of blonde waves that stood out around her head like a corona.

“Hello, Josie, and welcome.  I’ve been waiting for you.  I’m The Star Polisher.”

The woman stuck out her hand and smiled broadly, the crow’s feet at her eyes deepening.

Josie automatically shook the hand extended toward her, smiled timidly, and answered, “How do you do?  Um, h-h-how do you know my name?”

The woman laughed.

“I know you have lots of questions, Josie.  The Voice will be here any minute.  As soon as he gets here, we’ll explain everything.  Try not to worry.  It will all be fine.”

Josie did feel more at ease, although she couldn’t explain why.  Maybe it was the woman’s smile or her wild wacky hair so much like Susan’s, Josie’s best friend.  Or maybe it was the faint sandalwood scent in the room that reminded her of the incense she used at home to calm the kittens.

Suddenly the other door at the far end of the room banged open and hit the wall.  Josie jumped.  She could just make out the words stenciled on the door – “The Right Way.”

A tall, good-looking man with sharp features and dressed in an impeccably tailored navy blue pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and red tie came striding into the room.  He carried a briefcase in his right hand and was glancing down at the large, diamond-studded Rolex on his left wrist.

“Hello, hello.  You caught me just in time.  I was about to leave for the day.  I have a lot of places to go this evening.  I’ve never been so busy.”

“Hello, Voice,” said The Star Polisher.  “I’m really busy too.   It’s this higher vibration energy we’re shifting into.  So many people are being asked to make The Choice.”

“Now don’t get going with all your planetary mumbo jumbo transformation crap, Star Polisher.  Save it for your pigeons.  Is this my newest recruit?”

“Don’t call them pigeons.  And she’s not your recruit yet, Voice,” The Star Polisher reminded him in a steely tone of voice.  “She hasn’t made The Choice yet.”

“There, there, Star Polisher.  Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” replied The Voice.

Her eyes flashed, but all The Star Polisher said was, “Josie, I would like you to meet The Voice.  He may seem familiar to you.  You’ve probably heard his voice before, haven’t you?”

Josie nodded, her mouth wide open.  She’d been hearing that voice her whole life.  It was her father’s voice.  He had passed away several years ago, but she still heard his voice in her head – a voice that had been getting louder lately.

“P-p-pleased to meet you,” she stammered, as she stared apprehensively first at The Voice and then at The Star Polisher.

The Star Polisher smiled reassuringly and said, “Let’s all take a seat, shall we?  Then we’ll explain exactly what’s going on.  It’s really quite straight forward, Josie.  You’ve got a decision to make about how you want to live the rest of your life.  It’s called The Choice, and the time has come for you to make it.”

The Voice said, “I don’t even know why we’re here.  It’s so obvious what she Should do.  I’ve told her over and over and over.  I don’t know why she won’t do what she’s Supposed to do.  It’s obvious she needs to make The Choice and go the Right Way.”

“That’s your opinion, Voice,” The Star Polisher snapped.  “And heaven knows you’ve shared your opinion with Josie ad nauseum.  I imagine she could just about recite it word for word by now.   Isn’t that right, Josie?”

“Huh?  Um, yeah, I guess so.”

Silence.

“Do you want me to say it out loud?”

The Star Polisher and The Voice nodded.

Josie took a deep breath.

“Well, I know I Should be satisfied to be a wife and mother.  When I was a little girl, that’s all I ever wanted.  Now that the kids are older, I’ve got more time for myself.  Bill and I are good. I mean the big romance is gone, but that’s par for the course.  We’re not Supposed to be all gooey-eyed at this stage in the game, right?”

When no one answered, Josie took another deep breath and then continued in a flat voice.

“I’ve got my job at the insurance agency.  And Bill has his consulting business.  Our finances are in prettty good shape.  We’ve almost got the house paid for.  We’re down to one car payment.”

Josie paused.

“But,” prompted The Star Polisher.

“But, I don’t know.  Somehow it doesn’t feel like enough.”

The Voice snorted.  Josie glanced quickly at him, blushed, and looked away.

“I know I Shouldn’t feel this way.  I’ve got everything I’ve always wanted.  But I feel – oh, I don’t know.  Empty.  Unfulfilled. “

The Star Polisher nodded.  “Go on, Josie.”

“I mean is that all there is to life?  You marry, you raise kids, you work, the kids move out, you retire, you visit the kids and the grandkids, you grow old, and you die.  Is that it?  Is that what life is Supposed to be?”

“What the hell is wrong with that?” The Voice demanded to know.  “It was good enough for your parents.  It’s good enough for your sister and brother.  It Should be good enough for you.  What the hell is wrong with you?  You Should be grateful.”

“I know,” Josie sighed.  “You’re right.  I’m Supposed to be grateful.  I Should be happy.”

“But you aren’t happy, are you, Josie?” the Star Polisher asked quietly.

Josie shook her head, tears starting to form in her eyes.

“I understand,” the Star Polisher said in a gentle voice. “You play the game of life by the rules.  You do everything you’re Supposed to do, what you think you Should do.  And then one day you wake up, and you realize you’re not happy.  You don’t know what to do about it.  There must be something wrong with you, right?”

Josie nodded, the tears starting to drip down her cheeks.

The Star Polisher continued, “Josie, there’s nothing wrong with you.  I promise.  You’re not happy because you’re not following your Heart’s Desires.  You aren’t singing your Soul Song.  You may not even know what that means right now, and that’s okay.  But you do know one thing for sure.  You know you want to feel like you matter.  Like your life has meaning, purpose.”

“Yes, that’s exactly it!” Josie interrupted.  “I want to make a difference!  When I die, I want to know that my life has counted for something.  That I’ve counted for something.  I want to be more than just a good wife and mother.  I want to be who I really am.”

“Oh, yes,” said The Voice, in a bored tone, looking down at his fingernails and picking at them.  “The famous I want to make a difference and be who I really am speech.  If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that story!  Just who the hell do you think you are, Josie?”

Josie recoiled at the familiar words delivered in that scornful, shaming, all too familiar way.  She remembered clearly what her father used to say.

“Just who the hell do you think you are, Young Lady?  Get down off your high horse.  It’s not all about you.  No child of mine is going to be that selfish.  Think about your brother and sister.  Your mother and me.  You’re getting too damned big for your britches, Young Lady.  That’s what your problem is.”

Josie was yanked abruptly out of the painful memory  when she heard The Star Polisher raise her voice.

“We have heard your who the hell do you think you are speech one too many times, Voice,” The Star Polisher snapped.  “Now I’m going to tell you exactly who the hell Josie is.  And, for once, you’re going to shut up and listen!”

Josie stared at The Star Polisher, and her eyes widened.  The woman seemed to be growing even taller and larger than she was before.  She was glowing so brightly that even the dark corners of the room were illuminated.  As she started to speak, her words bounced around the room like a celestial echo reverberating around the heavens.

“Voice, just like everyone else in the world, Josie is a precious, divine child of God, and there’s no one like her on the planet,” The Star Polisher exclaimed.  “She has a special genius, a message to share with us.  This planet needs her special genius.  We need to hear her message.  The world is waiting for her light.”

The Star Polisher paused.  No one said anything.

When she resumed, she turned away from The Voice and spoke directly to Josie.

“Josie, it’s time to make The Choice – whether to go The so-called Right Way or whether to go Your Way.  Whether to live with your Heart’s Desires unfulfilled and to die with your Soul Song left unsung or whether to live with meaning and purpose, your heart full and singing your Soul Song joyfully.”

Josie was silent for a long time, and then she said, “Thank you, Star Polisher.”

With a timid glance toward The Voice, she continued, “If I’m honest, I’ve always felt I was here to do something special.  But then I figured I was just full of myself because I’m nobody special.  Heck, I don’t even know what that something special might be or who I really am.”

“None of us knows who we really are, Josie,” The Star Polisher responded, “Or what we’re here to do.  That’s what our purpose is — to figure all that out.”

“But I haven’t got a clue about any of that, Star Polisher,” Josie cried.

The Star Polisher smiled and said, “Actually, you do.  You’d be surprised how many clues you’ve got.  You just need to know how to look for them.  But don’t worry.  That’s why I’m here.  You don’t have to do this alone.”

The Voice snorted again, this time more loudly. Josie jumped.  She had forgotten all about him.

“Utter poppycock!”

Josie hadn’t realized people still used the word poppycock. Her lips twitched, but the expression on The Voice’s face sobered her instantly.

“Josie, this is just a bunch of drivel Star Polisher is filling your head with.  There are no clues.  There’s nothing to discover because there’s nothing special about you.  Get used to it.”

Josie’s face fell.  The Voice continued.  Now here’s what you Should do.  Just go back to your life.  Forget you were ever here.  That’s what you’re Supposed to do.  That’s the Right Way.”

“That is not the Right Way, Voice, “ The Star Polisher interrupted.  “That’s your way.  That’s her father’s way.  That’s their way.  But it is not Josie’s way!”

“But I don’t know what My Way is,” Josie wailed, beginning to tear again.

Frank Sinatra’s voice suddenly got louder.  Josie could hear the familiar lyrics clearly.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full. 

I traveled each and ev’ry highway. 

And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

Josie swiveled around and stared at the door through which The Star Polisher had first entered the room.  It was still shut, and the “Your Way” stenciled on it was glowing with a golden light.  Josie gasped.

“Oh, brother!” exclaimed The Voice.  “You’re pulling out every schmaltzy stop there is, aren’t you, Star Polisher?”

“Yes, I am!  Whatever it takes.  You’re not getting this one, Voice.  You’re not getting  her!”

The room fell silent.  The Voice and The Star Polisher stared at Josie.  She looked from one to the other for what seemed a lifetime.   Maybe it was.  You never know with time.  Then she stood up.  The Star Polisher and The Voice followed suit.

“I’ve made The Choice,” Josie said firmly.  “Voice, I’ve listened to you long enough.  It’s time to start listening to my Heart’s Desires.  It’s time to sing my Soul Song.  I’m going to do this My Way.”

Without another word, The Voice snapped his briefcase shut and strode back through The Right Way door, slamming it behind him.

The Star Polisher smiled and said, “It’s a good decision, Josie.  You won’t regret it.  And remember.  You don’t have to do this alone.”

The two women hugged, the larger one enveloping the smaller one.  Josie was the first to break the embrace.  She gave The Star Polisher one last quick hug, turned, and walked back out the door through which she had first entered the Make The Choice room what seemed like hours ago.

Evening had fallen.  The airport was even noisier and more crowded than before.  Over the din of the voices, she heard the loudspeaker announcement.

“Shoulds, Supposed Tos, and Right Ways to the right.  Heart’s Desires, Soul Songs, and Your Ways to the left.  Make The Choice.”

Josie turned left and started walking.

I hope you enjoyed reading this allegorical tale as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It was fun!  Josie made The Choice.  Now it’s your turn. Schedule an initial consult with me today. 

 

 

 

 

by Carol Hess

13 comments

Categories Dream Catching, Personal Empowerment, The Art of Star Polishing, The Mind Game

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar paula September 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

LOVE IT, LOVE IT. xx p

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avatar Carol Hess September 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I had so much fun writing this, Paula. Actually I woke up with most of it in my head — I think it came from a dream. Ya gotta love it when the Muse works while you’re sleeping, right?

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avatar Sandi Amorim September 12, 2012 at 10:05 am

Love it, want more like it! :)

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avatar Carol Hess September 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Okay, Sandi! Maybe Josie needs to have all sorts of fantastical experiences. Who knows? She might even meet your friends, Lizzie and Lola, in her travels! :)

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avatar Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce September 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I’m turning LEFT! Great allegory!

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avatar Carol Hess September 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Yay, Sarah! Actually, as I wrote this, I could swear I saw you galloping down the lefthand corridor way ahead of Josie. Maybe we can turn it into a whole darned stampede that direction so you and Josie have plenty of company. The journey is easier and more fun when it’s shared, right?

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avatar Ellen Berg September 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Wow. Have you ever read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior? Your piece has a lot of the feel of that book, and that book changed my life. Stories are powerful–sometimes we can see things more easily through stories than we can with someone telling us what to do. Love!

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avatar Carol Hess September 13, 2012 at 8:26 am

You are so right, Ellen. Stories are a great way to make a point — and so much fun to write! I don’t think I ever read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I’ll have to check it out.

Reply

avatar Susan Johnson September 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Loved this! Of course, it helped that it felt as if you were writing specifically for ME :) You have such insight and understanding. I hope someday I get the privilege of having you polish my star! Please keep writing too – thoroughly enjoyed this read.

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avatar Carol Hess September 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

Susan, you shine in so many ways already. Remember that!

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avatar Christine Jones September 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Wow! This was so familiar to me. It was like you lived much of my life with me! It was that classic feeling of being so confused, the ever familiar I am “stuck”! I am printing this out and re-reading it to keep me on track when the “voice” starts up and I find myself turning down that ever familiar road of “shoulds”. So glad to have you dear Star Polisher!
You are so right on!

Reply

avatar Carol Hess September 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

That stuck feeling between the two choices is the worst, isn’t it, Christine? The longer we stay there, the worse it gets, especially with The Voice singing the Should Song in the background. The minute we make The Choice to honor our heart and soul, the confusion disappears, and the relief and joy come flooding in.

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